Thursday, June 11, 2009

Could It Be That President Bruininks Is About To Do The Right Thing?

[Actually, he doesn't appear to have a choice.]

I was present at the Regents Meeting when the unofficial Regent for Athletics (that would be David Metzen) excoriated his colleagues for even suggesting that there should be no booze in the House that Bob Built, because of a commitment made to the athletic department that they would be allowed to make money to support themselves. Obviously then-Regent Metzen felt that alcohol, either free or for sale, was a part of this. Several Regents - to their credit - disagreed.

Now that Dr. Metzen has moved on to bigger and better things - a job with Tim Pawlenty - perhaps President Bruininks feels that he can escape the wrath of Metzen. Unfortunately, Dr. Metzen is Pawlenty's agent for negotiations about re-allotment with the U. Ouch! Watch this space...

From KSTP:

U may bar booze at all campus sporting events

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - This fall's eagerly awaited return of University of Minnesota football to a campus stadium will feature nostalgia, pageantry and fresh air. But no beer.

University President Robert Bruininks will recommend Friday that regents ban alcohol from the new stadium after state lawmakers demanded that fans in the TCF Bank Stadium cheap seats get as much access to booze as those in the suites.

He is extending the no-alcohol policy to the hockey team's Mariucci Arena and the basketball team's Williams Arena. While alcohol isn't broadly sold in either, it has been available in suite and reception areas.

"We know people will drink before they get to our games. We're not naive," Bruininks told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday. "But we do think this is the best, most responsible way to manage our game days and to really make this a high-quality experience for our fans."

Lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty hemmed the university in by attaching conditions to a liquor license for the football stadium. They said the school could sell alcohol stadium-wide or not at all. They also blocked the university from serving free alcohol to fans in premium seating areas, such as luxury boxes and club rooms.
[Ah, so he had no choice..]

University officials opposed the conditions, saying stadium-wide sales would be out-of-step with on-campus stadiums in the Big Ten and send the wrong message to students about drinking. Lawmakers argued that limiting booze to people holding expensive tickets smacked of elitism.
[And they are right. Tom Rukavina had this one nailed.]

The old campus stadium was torn down after the school shifted games to downtown Minneapolis in 1982. The novelty of the climate-controlled Metrodome wore off fast. Average attendance steadily slipped and fans began clamoring for a new home. Three years ago, state lawmakers authorized the $288 million, horseshoe shaped stadium with room for 50,000 fans.

[Fans? Would that be University of Minnesota administrators - Robert Bruininks - and the local sports mafia? Attendance couldn't have had anything to do with the team? The Metrodome was not the attendance killer. I saw the Gophers play Iowa and Northwestern to loud and large crowds. Of course they had a team then...]

The decision to go dry will be a change from collegiate games in the Dome, where fans could buy beer no matter where they sat.

"Bringing football back to the campus changes everything," Bruininks said. "This is an educational institution and it's not a professional sports venue. The change in venue here was critically important."
[Lord love a duck. This is an absurd argument.]

The decision could come at a price. Although the university's original plan would have made booze available to only 5 percent of stadium ticketholders, the offering made those pricier seats more attractive.
Online promotional materials for premium seating in the new stadium highlighted extra amenities. Selling points for the 20,000-square foot DQ Club Room, for instance, are the "expansive lounge area with private bar and concessions" and an "expanded food and beverage menu."

Minnesota officials said there are few campus football stadiums at large colleges where alcohol is available throughout the building. Syracuse University and the University of Cincinnati are among them.
[Ah, yes... So it is possible. And it was being done in the Metrodome.]

William DeJong, a Boston University professor who studies college drinking, said the move by itself won't prevent alcohol smuggling but the school's new policy should reduce consumption.

"The general rule of thumb in dealing with alcohol is if you make things less convenient, if you make it harder for people to make bad decisions than fewer will make bad decisions," DeJong said. "It seems like a bizarre argument to me to allow sales in every part of the stadium because people just might bring it in anyway."

I would like a brew while attending an athletic event. I'd even like a glass of whine. But either let everyone of age have access to alcohol or no one. And to be honest it is probably better to have a total no alcohol policy as far as enforcement.

There is a moral to this story that the Administration needs to learn. Think about the implications of your decisions before you do something stupid that is going to get you in trouble. Arrogance or its appearance does none of us any good.


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